Stephen Harper, 48, leads Canada as its prime minister and head of the Conservative Party he co-founded in 2003. His election marked the end of 12 years Liberal Party rule.
Recently newsworthy for its involvement in "NAFTA-gate," Harper's administration was accused of leaking a memo that summarized private statements by an Obama adviser that the Senator's private position on NAFTA differed from his public position. Harper has denounced such meddling in the US election as unfair and most likely illegal.
Born in Toronto, Harper is the the first Canadian Prime Minister since 1968 not to attend law school. Known for policy over pizazz, Harper quickly accomplished campaign promises after being elected to run the minority government. A supporter of the unpopular Canadian effort in Afghanistan, Harper appointed a nonpartisan committee to evaluate the mission. Canada's slow growth is perhaps the greatest challenge facing the prime minister. Hopefully his bachelor and master degrees in economics will prove useful.
The opposition has been aching to push the Conservatives out of power, and recent Conservative Party scandals may give them their opportunity. Recently opposition leader Jack Layton called Prime Minister Harper a tool of the US Republican Party . . . to his face . . . on the floor of Parliament. Parliamentary democracies are great, eh? To see video read more.